On the radio last week I heard that the Government plans to increase the minimum wage by fifty cent and hour. In theory then, those on the lowest rung of the ladder would at least see an extra €20.00 each week. OK, it's not much but it's something you might say.
More importantly though, from my perspective, I could scarcely believe those political scammers were voluntarily going to do something positive and nice for any of us. My first thought in fact was, what's in it for them? The true details of this announced scam should forewarn you, (before any election), just what they are really like.
The current rate for a 39-hour week on the minimum wage is €337.35. Then the deductions are, PAYE €4.01, PRSI €0.00 and USC €7.19. That's fine as far as it goes and added to this is the employer's PRSI (at 8.5%) is €28.67 leaving the minimum wager taking home €326.15.
The new rate for a 39-hour week on the minimum wage will be €356.85 gross and because of this, the deductions change. At the new rate, PAYE goes up to €7.91, USC goes up to €8.54 and PRSI now kicks in at €14.27 meaning that the minimum wager then takes home €326.13 or two cents less than before! But it is the employer who is hit the worst. His/Her contribution goes from €28.67 every week to €38.36.
What an absolutely beautiful scam from Enda's point of view. The headlines report a new mood of generosity in our Government with this most welcome gesture to the hardest hit. The truth however is the direct opposite. The shysters are currently raking in a combined €39.87 a week from the minimum wagers and their employers. Under the new structure this will skyrocket to €69.08 a week instead, an increase bordering on 80% …… for the wealthy politicians and nobody else.
They have actually managed to get praised for yet another rip-off. The minimum wage worker gets nothing, his employer is penalised for employing him and the Government gets some extra millions of hard earned euros to waste, perhaps on a raft of new consultant buddies.
Several years ago, under pressure to cut politician's salaries, Bertie Ahern pulled a masterstroke. At the time, they were due an increase running to several thousands a year extra for themselves. Bertie then publicly announced an across the board 4% cut in politician's salaries and the criticism went away overnight. But an alert investigator followed the money trail to discover that what really happened was that four per cent was taken off the proposed increase instead, leaving the increase at ninety-six per cent of what was due and not affecting their existing salaries at all.
The devil is truly in the detail